Our congenital heart disease (CHD) services are recognised globally as being among the best in the world.
In light of NHS England plans to decommission CHD services from the Trust, we have received messages of support from clinicians from around the world.
Mr B Sethia DL FRCP FRCS
President of the Royal Society of Medicine and consultant cardiac surgeon
“These proposals are poorly thought out, based on imprecise or no evidence and disregard the excellent outcomes delivered by Royal Brompton Hospital in both adult and paediatric cardiac patients.
"Furthermore, given the shortage of beds, it is ridiculous to assume that there are the necessary resources for patients to move to other centres for treatment.”
Mr Simon Clarke
Clinical director for children’s surgical services, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
“I have had a joint contract with Royal Brompton for the past 11 years. I feel confident operating here, with the knowledge that experienced surgical intensive care and high dependency teams are caring for my patients.
"I have developed strong relationships with the paediatric team over the
years and now run a fully integrated surgical service with ward rounds,
theatre sessions and multidisciplinary meetings.”
William G Stevenson MD
Director of the clinical cardiac electrophysiology programme at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Boston USA:
”This internationally recognised programme has long been a leader in the field and has made a series of contributions to the dramatic improvement in survival and outcomes of patients with congenital heart disease.”
Professor Francis Fontan MD
Honorary professor of cardiac surgery, University of Bordeaux, France, founding father and first president of the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery:
"I am one of the fortunate cardiac surgeons who had the chance to know the activity and the surgeons at Royal Brompton Hospital for decades, since the 1970s. I cannot imagine that this department could threaten to disappear.
"The international community of paediatric cardiologists and paediatric cardiac surgeons, indebted to Brompton, could not understand such a disappearing.”
Professor Brigitte Stiller
Medical director of the Clinic for Congenital Heart Defects / Paediatric Cardiology at the Centre for Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, University Hospital Freiburg, Germany:
“To me it is still unimaginable that the well-known and famous children’s services at the Royal Brompton Hospital are under this kind of threat. The political decision is a big mistake and I am sure that the results will last for decades... children, especially those with chronic disease like congenital heart defects urgently need centres like Royal Brompton.
"I cannot imagine that the closure of this exemplary clinic will make any sense regarding the community, the patient care or financial aspects. To my opinion this short-sighted decision should be revised.”
Patrick M Kochanek, MD
Professor and vice chairman, department of critical care medicine, and professor of anaesthesiology, paediatrics and clinical and translational science at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine:
“It is a fact that faculty from the hospital has played an instrumental role in unifying the field of paediatric cardiac intensive care worldwide. They have also contributed enormously to the development of the science of paediatric cardiac intensive care... The dismantling of the Royal Brompton program would represent an important loss of an iconic institution in the field and negatively impact the care of infants, children, and adults with congenital heart disease both in the UK and worldwide.
Professor Ernst Eber
Head of the paediatric assembly of the European Respiratory Society and head of the respiratory and allergic disease division, paediatric department, Medical University of Graz, Austria:
“It takes years to build a world class unit, and all this can be thrown away very quickly if careful prospective planning is not done. I do hope that there will be a way found to ensure the desired improvements for paediatric cardiac surgery and at the same time to ensure continued outstanding clinical and academic work performed by the paediatric respiratory services at the Royal Brompton Hospital, but it is inconceivable to me that this last can be achieved without PICU and paediatric anaesthesia.
Karolinska Institutet, The Centre for Allergy Research
Professor Sven-Erik Dahlén MD PhD
Professor Gunilla Hedlin MD PhD
Director of clinical research
"It has come to our attention that major changes in children’s cardiac services have been considered that will impact on the operations of paediatric respiratory services as well... This clinic is well-established as a centre of excellence concerning lung diseases in children of all ages.
"The Karolinska Institute and other colleagues abroad frequently consult the hospital and its staff because of its world-leading expertise in the field of paediatric lung disease... The research that has been carried out here into common and rare diseases of childhood is equally as outstanding, and a field-leader, internationally.”
Dr Neil Gibson
Honorary clinical senior lecturer at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow:
“The paediatric respiratory research unit at Royal Brompton Hospital is truly one of the world’s leading centres with an already impressive track record and a current set up that is likely to be part of delivering some fundamentally important research findings and treatment innovations for relatively common conditions.
"I fear there is a very real threat to that work from the implications of removing cardiac surgical services.
Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub
Professor of cardiothoracic surgery at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London and director of research, Harefield Heart Science Centre:
“It is my firm belief that centres of excellence such as the paediatric unit at the Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust are irreplaceable and, therefore, should be preserved for the benefit of the community, both nationally and internationally.”
Eduardo da Cruz MD
Associate Medical Director, Heart Institute; Head, Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Program; Director, CICU & Inpatient Services at Children’s Hospital, Colorado USA
"I would like to energetically support the programme of paediatric cardiology, cardiac surgery and intensive care at Royal Brompton Hospital that is currently under threat of being lead to closure with the consequent break-up of the expert teams of people who deliver care in this institution.
"I want to bring up the fact that this is one of the largest centres for the surgical treatment of congenital heart disease in Europe, with a world-wide reputation of excellence, based on the outstanding mortality rates and outcomes, and the prolific academic and scientific productivity."
Professor Gaetano Thiene
Professor of pathology and consultant in cardiovascular pathology, department of medical diagnostic services and special therapies at the University of Padua Medical School, and patron of CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) in the UK
"The news that children’s heart services at Royal Brompton Hospital will be dismissed is shocking. Paediatric cardiology at Royal Brompton is a leader in the world, both for diagnosis and treatment, and it is an international referral centre for education and professional training.
"It has played a fundamental role in the knowledge of clinical and surgical anatomy of congenital heart disease, and it is still 'la Mecca' for western as well as third-world countries."
Professor Natesa G Pandian MD
Director, Heart Valve Center; co-director, Comprehensive Cardiovascular Imaging Center; director, Echocardiography Research; professor at Tufts University School of Medicine
"I am shocked to learn that there are considerations of terminating pediatric cardiac surgery services and compromising pediatric and adult congenital heart disease (CHD) services at Royal Brompton Hospital.
"The CHD program at Brompton has been a shining center of excellence in patient care, research and education for many decades.
"This outstanding program has cared for thousands of patients in UK and taught countless number of physicians and surgeons across the world."
Gary Webb MD
Cincinnati Adolescent and Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program, The Heart Institute at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
"I would consider the Royal Brompton ACHD group as one of the top three ACHD groups in the world, in terms of its clinical excellence, academic contributions and training and educational opportunities. In my opinion, it has accomplished more in the last decade than any other center in the world.
"I understand that there is a national process and review of pediatric cardiac surgical services and that the review represents a threat to the congenital heart services at the Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust.
"Such a possible action would be unimaginable for those of us in the international ACHD community, as it would jeopardize a world leader in the field, having an adverse impact on both patient care and the ongoing development of the specialty, not only at national, but also at a global level.
"There is no doubt, that if paediatric cardiac services are affected and removed from the Royal Brompton, that ACHD care and the Royal Brompton’s national and international leadership would be compromised."
Professor Dr Dirk Vlasselaers
Leading consultant paediatric intensive care unit, University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium
"The paediatric cardiology service at the Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK, including all the necessary subspecialties in the broad field of paediatric cardiology, has an excellent reputation worldwide. Many doctors around the world, working in the field of paediatric cardiology (cardiologists, intensive care physicians, cardiac surgeons, anaesthesiologists) were trained at this institution.
"Breaking up this expert team of people would mean an absolute loss of expertise and quality of care. The current plans would mean a substantial devaluation of the quality of care in a great area for the sickest children."
Professor Michael Gatzoulis
consultant cardiologist and professor of cardiology, and congenital heart disease at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London
“We have the largest training programme for adult CHD in the world. Our research is clinical, it’s not based in a laboratory. Our work at Royal Brompton has transformed patient care in the UK and the rest of the world."
Dr Richard Grocott-Mason
Consultant cardiologist and medical director at Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust
“As a doctor, I cannot understand how NHS England’s plan would result in patients receiving better care. It makes no sense to try and improve care by closing one of the biggest, well-performing services, or by destroying research teams that are leading the way in finding new treatments for the future.”